Continuing on what I wrote in my last post, part of the problem I have conveying things to band members is that I listen to songs as a songwriter. I analyze it, take it apart, try to figure out what makes it work. Try to find things I can use in my songs.
Here’s an example of a song that almost surely would be voted down if I suggest to my band that we should cover it:
I know. It’s Poison. Poison sucks. Brett is a clown, you can’t hear the bass, the drums have way too much reverb, and, while CC is a great guitarist, the guitar sounds like it recorded on a guitar you’d buy at KMart.
But underneath that is a good song. It’s got a nice, solid melody that’s both easy to follow and not too predictable. If it had been recorded by a band with even a shred of artistic credibility and quality instruments you’d still hear it on the radio once in a while.
It’s not always true that people aren’t able to tell when a good song is being played by an objectively shitty band:
I have a basic metric for a band’s quality- if you can imagine them doing a credible cover of another band’s song, they probably don’t suck*. Can you imagine the Violent Femmes doing a not awful cover of anything? Nah, me neither.
So what’s the difference? Beats me! If I knew how to cater to audience taste I would be a well compensated song writer right now.
*Of course, there’s the examples of Jack White, Dwight Yoakam and Axl Rose, great talents who completely fuck up any song they didn’t have a part in creating.